By John Kyrou
South Melbourne FC recorded its third straight National Premier League Victoria win in succession when it defeated Green Gully 1-0 at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday evening. Mathew Theodore’s first half header proved to be the difference between the two sides as South managed to record a third straight win against Green Gully and at the same time maintain its six point lead over the Oakleigh Cannons at the top of the NPL Victoria ladder.
The home side scored the winning goal after 12 minutes, when an inspired Jamie Reed did very well to get past his marker on the right side of the box before delivering an inch-perfect cross for Theodore to head past Gully goalkeeper Kieran Gonzalez. It was Theodore’s fifth goal of the season in what has been an excellent 2014 so far for the midfielder. Green Gully almost levelled straight from the resulting kick-off, firstly from a blocked Osagie Ederaro shot and secondly from Mathew Sanders, however luckily for the South its right back Tim Mala was on the goal line to clear Sanders’ shot. Sanders had another chance to level for the away side but South goalkeeper Jason Saldaris was on hand to make the save.
South should have wrapped the match up in the first five minutes of the second half, when centre-forward Milos Lujic found himself completely unmarked in the six-yard box but headed the ball over Gonzalez’s crossbar. He then turned provider, putting in a dangerous low cross to the back post for an incoming Reed to somehow steer the ball wide of the goal. Green Gully enjoyed a large period of possession in the second half and with that had a series of half-chances but the South defence managed to stand firm, allowing Saldaris to claim his eleventh clean sheet of the season.
Post-match, South Coach Chris Taylor said that it had been a scrappy match “but we defended well, so that’s very pleasing.” On the amount of excellent chances missed by his team, he admitted that “we made it hard for ourselves but the pleasing thing was to get the three points.” Captain Michael Eagar added that “looking ahead to the next two weeks we have a couple of tough home fixtures against Hume City and the Melbourne Knights, so it was very important to win against Gully here and set ourselves up for a big fortnight.”
The news was not so good in the NPL 20s, as Green Gully came from a goal down to defeat South Melbourne 1-2. Eric Hauser scored South’s only goal.
South Melbourne FC’s next match is against Hume City at Lakeside Stadium next Sunday 13 July, kick-off at 5PM.
FINAL SCORE: SOUTH MELBOURNE 1-0 GREEN GULLY (HT: 1-0)
1-0: Mathew Theodore (12′)
South Melbourne FC:
1. Jason SALDARIS (GK), 2. Tim MALA, 4. Michael EAGAR (C), 7. Nick EPIFANO (10. Tyson HOLMES 26′), 8. Mathew THEODORE (11. Brad NORTON 64′), 9. Milos LUJIC, 12. Iqi JAWADI (15. Kobbie BOAHENE 90+3′), 14.
James MUSA, 17. Jamie REED, 25. Shaun TIMMINS, 77. Stephen HATZIKOSTAS.
1. Kieran GONZALEZ (GK), 2. Daniel JONES, 4. Mathew REID, 5. Roddy VARGAS, 7. Jeffrey FLEMING, 8. Jason HAYNE, 10. Ratip CILELI (11. Jem BERKANT), 12. Mathew SANDERS, 16. Thomas DENG (9. Brent FISHER), 17. Andy VARGAS, 20. Osagie EDERARO.
SMFC Man of the Match: Jamie Reed
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Date: Sunday 6 July 2014